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Klopp needs to maintain calm

Many of my regular readers here I am sure will know that I am a big fan of Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager.

I have always rated him from his days at Dortmund and I really believe he’s done a very good job with the current Liverpool players.

In the past few weeks it looks like the engine that was purring at the start of the season as Liverpool were racking up very good wins at Arsenal and Chelsea followed up by thumping home wins is stalling.

Four wins in the last 10 matches in the league followed by League Cup semifinal knockout by Southampton mean the Anfield natives are restless.

After the defeat to Southampton, Klopp, in the post-match interview on Sky Sports, bristled in his responses, insisting that they have lost that match and the previous league game to Swansea because they did not take their chances.

I see his point and I agree with him completely. In the second half of that match Liverpool squandered many opportunities to have put the game away.

However, Claude Puel of Southampton can claim that had his team put away all the chances they created in the first leg and in the first half of the second half then the Liverpool chances wont have mattered.

Football and opinions!

Are Liverpool stuttering? Is their title challenge over? If so, why? They are still in the title race.

They are only two points behind second-placed Arsenal even if they are 10 points behind Chelsea the league leaders.

If I was a Liverpool fan what might worry me more is how much talking the manager does in the press.

He seems too quick to be making excuses and passing the buck. That is a good tactic if it is to deflect attention from under-performing players and help rally the troops. It could backfire if it absolves players and the coaching crew of their own failings.

Another factor one notices watching Liverpool is the slight reduction in the intensity of the early season play.

Now, that is a problem of the “Gegenpressing” style I have always believed. It is not a style that I think can be sustained in a league as intense and physical as the Premier League.

Teams are now ready to defend deep and hit Liverpool on the break with balls that bypass the midfield.

The onus on Klopp and his assistants is to tweak their style and get back to winning games on the bounce again so that confidence returns.

Not playing in Europe should help them work it out in training.

Many have pointed to the absence of Sadio Mane away at the African Cup of Nations as a major factor.

My response is that if a club as big as Liverpool is suffering because of the absence of a player like Mane then their problems are much bigger than many know.

The Senegal international is no Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi. He is not even in the league of Gareth Bale, Luis Suarez or Alexis Sanchez that he should wield such an influence in the fortunes of Liverpool. He is a talented footballer, but not more than that really.

The FA Cup game with Wolves at Anfield presents a welcome distraction.

I don’t expect Klopp to make the kind of changes like he did for the last round tie against Plymouth as Wolves have already won at Stoke.

Teams have been down at times in the league and this is Liverpool’s time.

How they get out of it and maintain a title push will depend largely on how the manager deals with the situation. Players are still the ones that started the season.

I happen to be one of those who does not think the title is done and Chelsea will win it.

The visit of Chelsea to Anfield presents the Liverpool manager and his players the perfect opportunity to bounce back while delivering a telling blow to a runaway league leader.

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